Songs Of The Day: Mr Eazi, Ladipoe, Bella Alubo & More
new music from around the continent
new music from around the continent
We’re halfway through 2022, and it’s been an eventful year for Afropop. There’s been a torrent of great new music, spawning a massive stack of inventive smash hit songs. From Highlife-infused Ghanaian pop, to the unrelenting force that is Nigerian street-pop, to South Africa’s indomitable Dance scene, to tantalising Drill explorations in East and Central Africa, and much, much more, we’re living through abundant and musically expansive times.
Every week, tonnes of songs from African artists make their way to digital streaming platforms, and wading through them can be intense. That’s where The NATIVE’s Songs of the Day column comes in to help. We go through as many new releases as possible, spotlighting them here, two to three times every week. Earlier this week, we brought you new music from Kabza De Small, Shatta Wale, Chop Life Crew and more. This weekend, enjoy our selection from Mr Eazi, Ladipoe, Preye Itams, Mafikizolo and many more. Tap in, and you’ll definitely find new sounds for your playlist(s).
Earlier this year Mr Eazi announced his engagement to Temi Otedola through a bite-sized clip which he shared across social channels. The video was set in the ambient city of love, Paris, and saw him take to his knees as he proposed to his long-time girlfriend. His new release, “Legalize”, which is also his debut of the year, captures the palpable aura of nuptial bliss stoked by the engagement video. Over a serene production upholstered by twinkling guitar riffs and trilling violin melodies, he declares his unbridled love for his muse and his desire to make their relationship legal.
Since his 2020 seminal breakout hit “Know You”, Ladipoe has cemented himself as a rapper with a knack for fusing heavy-hitting Rap bars and anthemic Pop hooks into a unique flourish. On his latest offering, “Big Energy”, he continues to toe this trajectory. Here, he surfs over a mid-tempo production interspersed with whimsical keys, brazenly singing his praises by way of exaggerated braggadocious bars such as “Big Energy, when I come through, big energy”, which he sings over the hook.
Very few artists in the southern pocket of Africa possess the artistic range and longevity of one of South Africa’s foremost duos, Mafikizolo. Since their debut in 1996, they’ve been in sync with the pulse of Pop culture, morphing and evolving to mirror the times. Their latest cut, “10K” is another testament to their unflinching knack for reinventing themselves. Roping in angelic singing, trilling bass riffs and bouncy grooves, they conjure a poignant flurry of serene ethereal sounds.
Bella Alubo brandishes her femininity in her music unabashedly, whether it’s a velvety romantic ballad or a bouncy Pop record, her songs serve as rallying anthems for her burgeoning female audience, and her latest isn’t any different. For “Location”, she taps Afro-house pioneer Niniola, for an upbeat Afro-house earworm. Against a backdrop of boisterous drums and undulating melodies, they bounce off each other as they trade whimsical lyrics about making a delivery to a location.
The moods of Thato Soul’s music are typically defined by intense reflection and gritty storytelling. This is a motif that’s firmly woven through his latest project, ‘Life is Gangsta’ — a 13-track ode to his days in Saulsville, a gritty township in South Africa. Off the project, the A-Reece assisted “Put It On Me” is a standout. On the record, he surfs a blend of RnB and 80s Hip-Hop, pulling apart the themes of success and gratefulness, as he relays his hood chronicles by way of velvety rap bars.
Kweku Smoke is one of the youngest and most subversive rappers charting the course of Drill music in Ghana. Young as he is, he has already cemented himself as one of the most exciting voices on the block, and his defining legacy is his inimitable take on Drill music. He ropes in his native tongue, syncopated flows and hooks, to conjure Drill anthems unique to himself. On “Woso”, this pattern is glaring, he taps fellow Ghanian rapper Jay Bahd, and the pair trade rapid fire flows over an ominous production.
“Malibu” feels reminiscent of the slow-burning sultry R&B records that coloured most of the 80’s and 90’s. Nigerian singer Prèye has kept her releases precious and powerful, always adeptly making a statement with each new release. Against the backdrop of a smoky salacious production, Preye professes her love to her muse with witty lines. “Ain’t no problem, you’re my type. You’re exactly what I like”, she sings over the hook.
“No Crying In A Ho Phase” is a sparkling blend of Lo-Fi Pop and R&B that sees Reece pull apart the unwieldy conundrum of getting emotionally attached to a casual lover. Over a bouncy production, he deftly conjures a vivid montage of the situation. He sounds forlorn as he sings about a gnawing longing for a lover and filling up emotional chasms with booze, before picking himself up and declaring that there is no crying in the hoe phase.
Featured image credits/NATIVE